17 Baseball Workouts To Get You Ready For the Season
What makes for good baseball workouts?
Sure, you can go lift weights until the cows come home, but is that going to get you the best results on the baseball field? Probably not. Baseball is a unique sport in that it uses a very specific set of muscles in explosive ways.
A good baseball workout is not about endurance, or even bulking up. It's about fine tuning your core, staying flexible, and conditioning your fast twitch muscles to be ready for action at the crack of the bat.
I'm not a personal trainer, nor do I play one on the internet - so that's why we've done some digging to come up with the 17 best baseball workouts we could find. Enjoy! (and don't forget to hydrate)
1. The Alex Rodriguez Off Season Workout
Okay, let's get all the steroid jokes out of the way. Are we done? Good. I know A-Rod is an admitted user - and not exactly the most liked guy in baseball - but he's still a world class athlete who puts a lot of effort (and pharmaceuticals - okay, now we're done) into his off season workouts.
Here's what it looks like via popworkouts.com
- High Speed Plyometric Movements
- 30 Minutes on a stationary bike
- 300 Crunches (that makes 1500 for the week)
- Back Extension
- Wide-Grip Pulldown
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Dumbbell Pullover
- Power Clean
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Upright Row
- Dumbbell Shrug
- Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise
- Close-Grip Bench Press
- Triceps Pressdown
- Dumbbell Kickback
The first thing you'll notice about Alex's workout routine is that it changes daily. Variety is something to pay close attention to when crafting your own training schedule. It's a good mix of cardio, strength training, and drills.
2. Dirty Rice
This next exercise is perfect for hand strength. Have you ever seen a baseball player's hands? They're like giant mitts of granite.
I remember being 9 years old and getting an autograph from Met's backup catcher Orlando Mercado. The thing that sticks with me the most from that incident, besides the fact that my Dad had to beg him for like five minutes, was that I had never seen hands like his. When he took the ball to sign, it looked like he might permanently damage it. I mean it looked miniature.
What you'll Need
The set up for this is simple and you can do it right at home while watching MLB Network.
- A Bucket - The larger, the better, but a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket will work just fine
- Rice - enough to fill the bucket (uncooked of course)
3. Yoga - For Speed
Well, it's 2016 and Yoga is not going anywhere. This fad is not a passing one, nor should it be! Yoga is an awesome workout that is slowly picking up more and more steam in the athletic world - especially baseball.
Why you ask?
Because, simply put, yoga combines a lot of key elements you should be including in your baseball workouts, including:
- Core Strength
- Injury Prevention
4. Yoga - For Power
I'm cheating here a little by breaking what could easily be one yoga workout into two, but that's what stack did, so I figured that I would do the same.
Check out Giancarlo Stanton's Yoga for Power here:
I could probably do an entire post on Yoga as a baseball workout (and I probably will at some point), but for the sake of diversity in this article, I will leave only these two lessons from stack.com.
Want more of Giancarlo Stanton's Yoga Video Series?
5. The Five Tool Workout by Men's Fitness
Men's Fitness has done a great job of putting together a complete five tool baseball workout.
Here's how they broke their exercises down - click here for all the specifics.
- Arm Strength = Long Toss
- Speed = Treadmill Sprints
- Fielding = Ladder Drills
- Hitting for Average = Single leg/Single arm rows coupled with kneeling cable chops
- Hitting for Power = Squats, Squat Jumps (medicine ball), and Rotational Medicine Ball Throws
- "Tool 6/Secret Weapon" = (Spoiler Alert) Nutrition*
*While nutrition is incredibly important, I would argue that the sixth tool is actually the batter's eye/plate discipline. But this is a topic for a later date.
6. Fitness Blender's Quick Chest and Back Workout
Sometimes you don't have a lot of time. For instance, I have a two year old child, two jobs, and now this blog! I have to get in quick workouts these days. Luckily, Daniel and Kelli at Fitness Blender have put together an outstanding (and quick) upper body workout.
On this site, you'll hear me talk a lot about your core and legs - flexibility, etc. But make no mistake, You're upper body is just as important in terms of your baseball workouts. You know this, of course, as most people want to hit their upper body before anything else when they step in the gym.
Well, this quick workout is great - and quick - so that you can move right on to those neglected legs of yours! (We don't skip leg day here at Five Tool School)
7. Livestrong's Core Exercises for Baseball
In this article, Livestrong's Patrick Dale lays out three different types of core strengthening exercises specifically geared towards baseball players.
Like many good core workouts these use medicine balls to engage your entire core area in a way similar to how it used on the baseball diamond. Check it out!
8. Medicine Ball Throws
We're sticking with medicine balls for this next series of exercises from yougoprobaseball.com.
Skip to the following times in the video to get to specific exercises.
- Low-Side Throws - 0:34
- High-Side Throws - 1:14
- Squat Throws - 2:18
- Alternating Slams - 2:43
- Backwards Throws - 3:13
9. Sports Illustrated's 10 Key Weight Training Exercises for MLB
This is really a gem of an article right here. The writer, Sarah Toland, went right to the source and spoke with Major League trainers to get some of their most unique, and beneficial, exercises. A lot of it is really out of the box.
Here are just a few quotes from the trainers regarding the exercises they are teaching...
“This is primarily a back exercise, but because you’re using an unstable device, it activates your glutes and core, and you’re working on posture all at the same time,” says McDaniel.
“We’re very core based,” says Kochan of the Giants strength program. “Any time we can stabilize the spine, we do, because baseball is an asymmetrical sport.”
“It’s especially good for pitchers because it mimics letting go of the baseball as close to the plate as possible,” he says. According to the Dodgers strength coach, the exercise also stimulates some of the same mechanics used in running. “Guys can get very knee-dominant when running, and this teaches them to drive from the hip,” he says
Click Here to read the entire article...
10. University of Nebraska Summer Workout
Ever wonder what the off season training regimen might be for a D-I Baseball program? Well, wonder no more, because I've found a pdf online that outlines exactly what the University of Nebraska is asking of their players for over the summer workouts.
Click here for access...
11. Training with TRX
What is TRX you ask? That's a fair question, and also one that I had, when I kept coming across their training devices over and over again while putting together this guide. In fact, TRX is mentioned multiple times by the MLB trainers in the Sports Illustrated article above (#9)
So what is it?
It's basically resistance band training on steroids. Developed by former Navy Seal Randy Hetrick as a means to stay in peak physical condition while on deployment, the TRX products and program are great for anyone with limited space and time.
They have a few Baseball specific workouts on their website, but I'd encourage you to check out their entire program. It's really great stuff!
TRX Home Workout Bundle
This is the ultimate package if you're looking to get started at home with the TRX program. You might as well cancel your gym membership. Seriously.
12. PRO Home Run Power Baseball Workouts
This one comes via HASfit.
Nothing fancy here, just good exercises. Check out the video below:
13. Box Jump with Single Leg Landing
Here's a baseball workout designed specifically for pitchers, although I'd argue that every player could benefit from this one. After all, are we not pitchers when we are firing the ball across the diamond to nab a speedy runner, or getting ready to crow-hop in the outfield?
The video below comes to us via ericcressey.com. Eric Cressey is the owner of Cressey Performance and he works with a lot of professional baseball players. This video and exercise features Mariners pitcher Steve Cishek.
If you want more baseball related workouts from Eric Cressey and his team, click here!
14. Top Five Exercises for Batspeed according to beabetterhitter.com
beabetterhitter.com is a site run in part by former Yankees Strength and Conditioning Coach, Dana Cavalea. That's a pretty impressive credential, so I have no problem recommending you take a look at his article (and site, in general).
His top 5 are:
- Core Bridges
- Seated Bent Knee Med Ball Rotations
- High to Low Standing Band Chops
- Low to High Standing Band Chops
- Rotational Pushup
Click here to find out exactly what those exercises are and how to utilize them properly.
15. Stretch, stretch, sttrrreeeetcccchhhhh
We all hate to do it. Don't we? Or am I alone?
Well, whether you hate it or love it (weirdo), you NEED to do it. And it's really in your best interest to form a routine that works for you and that you can stick to.
When I was younger, I could get away with a few arm stretches, a hammy, and I was good to go. Now that I'm older... yeah... it's a bit more than that. Here's a few that I find helpful:
Elbow Out Rotator Cuff Stretch
Ah, the old Rotator Cuff. A pitcher's best friend. Did you know that the human body has evolved to allow us to throw overhand? It's just not evolved enough to do it 100 times from a mound at 90 mph. Shocking, I know.
So stretch that baby out! Via Stretchcoach.com
Stand with your hand behind the middle of your back and your elbow pointing out. Reach over with your other hand and gently pull your elbow forward.
POSITION: Start in a plank position with the arms in a 90-degree angle to the spine. Align the body in a straight line from head to heels and fully extend the elbows. Pull the belly button into the spine to engage the abdominals.
My Hip Flexors give me a lot of trouble. You can usually find me limping around after a game - this stretch is great to do before and after games/workouts.
It comes via prehabexrecises.com
ACTION: Step one foot forward to the outside of the hand and align the toes and fingers in a straight line if possible. Press the floor away with the arms and keep the straight-line alignment from head to heel. Breathe deeply and relax while alternating feet on each forward-lunge step.
Modes of Application:
Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds as you mentally imagine your hip flexors lengthen and focus on deep exhalations.
Smoothly perform several reps of this movement as you breathe deeply and relax.
Hold the end position and perform several Contract/Relax sequences with the targeted hip.
I recommend both highly.
16. Oneresult.com's - Fully tailored Baseball Workouts
How about a full 12 Week training schedule completely broken out for you by day, and exercise?
How about if that also comes with a nutritional guide?
And what if you could custom tailor it to what you were looking for specifically? (weight gain, weight loss, explosiveness, off season, in season, you name it)
That's exactly what you'll find at oneresult.com.
Simply fill out this form...
You're off to the races.
Could you be any more spoiled?
17. Mind Over Matter's What Matters
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical." - Yogi Berra
Congratulations, you've made it to the last workout!
You didn't think that I'd leave a mental workout off the list did you?
Regardless of what physical tools you're bringing to the table, you need a rock solid mental approach in order to perform at the highest level. How often do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in the batter's box? Full of doubt? "Don't screw up", you say.
Well, we've all been there. Luckily there are exercises that you can do to strengthen that weak muscle in the middle of your head - your brain.
Imagery Training and Visualization
These types of exercises can vary depending on the person, but in general, these are the basic steps one would take to engage in a visualization exercise.
- Find a quiet place with no distractions. Get comfortable - however that may be
- Image Generation: create the space that you are going to be in. Is it the batter's box? Shortstop? Wherever it is, close your eyes and put yourself there. Don't just stop with visualizing it. Feel the bat in your hand. Smell the dirt. Hear the playing field. Use all of it to create a vivid impression in your mind.
- Image Exploration: Now that you've got your setting intact, explore it. Who's on the mound. How many people are watching? You get the idea. You just want to really flesh it out to make it as real as possible.
- Image Activation: Now you're ready to play out the actions. Make this specific. If you've been having trouble turning double plays, then turn double plays. Haven't been hitting curve balls? Well, you're about to crush some. Try and play them out in real time as much as possible. Also, don't forget to incorporate the emotions as well. It feels good to hit a curve ball, allow yourself to experience that satisfaction every time.